Maybe you need to get your manifesto out to the masses, run off a stack of zines, create custom wedding invitations, punch out a few buttons, bind a book, or just get some work done using InDesign—for nearly 20 years, these sorts of projects have all found a home at the Independent Publishing Resource Center.
But the IPRC is about to put such work on hold: earlier this year, the nonprofit learned it would face a 300-percent rent hike, forcing it out of its SE Division Street space. (An all-too-common story in today’s Portland, with artists and art organizations increasingly priced out of the central city.) According to program director Hajara Quinn, IPRC board members have their eye on a spot in Northeast Portland, but they need $20,000 to make the move happen—it’s no small (or cheap) task to transport heavy printers and presses across the city. To help raise funds, they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign.
“We’re trying to stay somewhat central, which is hard with our square footage and capacity needs,” Quinn says. “We have found a couple of places we are interested in, one in Northeast near NW Documentary. As long it’s somewhat comparable to our rent right now, that's been sustainable for us.”
It’s an uncertain future for the IPRC. Which makes this weekend’s 16th annual Portland Zine Symposium somewhat bittersweet, but also one of the last opportunities to visit the IPRC’s current space. The two-day occasion—Saturday at the Ambridge Event Center; Sunday at the IPRC—features free workshops, panels, and discussions, as well as DIY literati from around the globe showing and selling their work.
Since its 1998 founding by a group of zinesters who wanted an alternative to Kinkos, the IPRC has grown into a maker space and provider of outreach programs in prisons and schools. The center also offers yearlong certificate programs focusing on prose, poetry, or image and text. Taught by local writers during weekly sessions, such programs run $750.
“If an unfunded MFA costs as much as a car,” Quinn says, “then our certificate program will cost as much as a modest-sized bike.”
The IPRC has occupied its SE Division industrial building-turned-studio since 2012. The roomy space boasts offices and private classrooms, with courses ranging from screenprinting to papermaking to collaging to letterpress. There’s also a vast library—housing the third-largest zine collection in the US—where visitors can settle into rocking chairs and flip through copies of such titles as How to Make Your Own Woodstove (for the DIY crowd), Temp Slave (on woes of the working), or Mother Rebel: A Radical Response to Parenting (no explanation necessary).
All this—plus a kids’ comic and drawing club and twice-monthly author readings—makes the current IPRC a bustling place. And, Quinn says, creates urgency for the relocation. “We are hoping to move in August,” she says. “Because of all the programming that we do, and because the certificate program starts in September and runs through the spring, our hope is to find a new home before [fall].”
The Portland Zine Symposium runs Saturday–Sunday, July 9–10.